First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people. 1 Timothy 2:1
I am so thankful this morning as I realize that I find myself privileged to pray for others. It didn’t used to be that way for me ~ I used to be “that Christian” that would say I would pray, and then I would either forget about it or decide within my own little dark heart that the prayer request was simply not as important as some of the others I’d heard.
That’s the heart of a Pharisee ~ and it was there….SO there for me for many, many years.
Now, I find myself coming back to a heart of compassion and empathy for others, whether their need is big or small; what may seem to be common place or rare and shocking.
I was thinking about something else too this morning: things that are no longer rare that people go through every single day. Things that we become immune to when it comes to the heart and feeling for others because the world tells us it is normal.
Is normal what it’s really about, or is it the heart that is important to Jesus? We are living with things that may seem normal, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t cause pain.
- What is right and good about hatred and violence?
- What is right and good about divorce, and relationship issues?
- What is right and good about stress in the workplace?
- What is right and good about heartache in your family, relationships, or in the church?
Have we forgotten that just because people go through stuff that is no longer infrequent, that it still hurts?
Have we become numb to the pain and the heartache, that comes from things such as divorce, breakups, separation from loved ones and family, conflict within our family and circle of friends, struggles within the church, job woes, friendship junk ~ all that stuff?
Let us not become immune.
Sometimes the enemy uses that which has become what we perceive as just “part of life” now in our world, to trick us into believing that it’s no big deal any longer. It’s part of the plan ~ the evil and ugly plan to numb us up or make us have to hide.
People feel they must hide sometimes from the fact that something that may have become accepted or commonplace in our culture still hurts them.
Hurts are hurts ~ whether it’s due to some disease you have been diagnosed with that had nothing to do with you, or a consequence of circumstances or choices that just went bad.
Yes, Christian friends ~ hurts are still hurts even if they came as a result of our own sin. They are all worthy of our prayers.
All of it is important. All of it is painful, whether we see that or not as a culture, or as a race. All of it is worthy of being prayed over and laid in the lap of Jesus.
Because God cares.
Jesus clearly shows that all things that cause us stress, pain, emotional turbulence, temptation, or lack of joy matter to Him. As he walked among us, He took care of many different needs that people had ~ big and small, rare and common-seeming.
- He healed people in miraculous ways.
- He touched their hearts and lives in intimate and personal ways.
- He healed lepers, raised the dead, brought sight to the blind.
- He also brought rest for those who were weary or tired, and fed people that were hungry.
- He spent time talking with people about their feelings and the things they were going through ~ even when they seemed like small things compared to all the sick that needed healing around them.
- He helped and interceded for (wait for it!)…..SINNERS.
It all matters. We all matter to Jesus.
Let us not be immune.
Jesus……Savior of the World….. is never immune to our needs. He asks that we love others as we love ourselves. That means it all should matter and matter BIG to us, just as it does to Him.
The big, the small, the common, the rare, the stuff they may have had nothing to do with, the things that are consequences of previous choices that were made, the seemingly no-way-out kind of stuff folks contend with ~ ALL of it.
Let our hearts remain tender for others in Jesus, friends. Let us not become immune to the pain others go through just because it seems like something we may hear about many going through around us. Sometimes, it seems easier to pray for others when we are shocked by their situation or condition. That is feelings-oriented. We must check our hearts.
Let us not become immune.
We have to dig, friends. We have to dig deep down in our hearts sometimes to find love, mercy, compassion or empathy for people and their situations that don’t shock our senses any longer. We have to kill that which is making us immune to caring for others in all that they are contending with that causes them hurt and pain.
Won’t you dig down with Jesus today, friend? Won’t you look around and hear the hearts of those who are all around you and commit to pray for them? Let Him decide what is worthy of healing. Let Him decide what to do with that situation you are lifting up to Him on behalf of another. Bring it to Him.
If you find yourself starting to really feel you are privileged to pray for others, won’t you commit to finding things others contend with that you have possibly stopped feeling is big enough to pray about and put those people right on the top of your list?
We can’t allow the enemy to isolate them from our prayers. We can’t let him make the multitudes fall by the wayside.
It’s not about which things we must choose to pray over ~ it’s not about discerning who has the worst and hardest situation to bring before the Lord. Sometimes, it is about the very opposite of that.
Sometimes, it’s about finding that which we have become accustomed to and remembering that it is NOT normal, is NOT what God’s intention and plans were for mankind, and is NOT unworthy of attention, empathy, and deeply committed prayer.
Let us not become immune.
Let us not close our eyes to how others are hurting all around us. In the shocking and in the day-to-day.
It ALL matters to Him.
In every place. From every man. Every single prayer.
“I desire then that in every place the men should pray; lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.” 1 Timothy 2:8